What Did Nelson Piquet Say About Lewis Hamilton? It wasn’t good…

The Former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet was forced to pay nearly $1.5 million in damages and faced a lifetime ban from the paddock for racist and homophobic comments made about Lewis Hamilton.

What Did Nelson Piquet Say About Lewis Hamilton? It wasn’t good…

Former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet was ordered to pay $1 million USD (~$1.5 million AUD) in moral damages for homophobic and racist remarks made against Lewis Hamilton.

After a collision between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton during the 2021 British Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet, former Formula 1 driver and father of Verstappen’s partner, Kelly Piquet, made offensive comments about Hamilton, referring to the seven-time World Champion as ‘neguinho’ which translates to “little black guy” in English.

Nelson Piquet was fined in March 2023 for racist and homophobic comments made about Lewis Hamilton and was ordered to pay $950,000 (~$1.44 million AUD) in “moral damages” by a Brazilian court. The funds were then donated to help causes that fight against racial inequality and the discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community.

But it wasn’t the first time that Piquet had made such comments about Hamilton through the years; another video later emerged where Piquet used homophobic language while saying that Hamilton had no focus on challenging Nico Rosenberg for the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship. There were also at least two other instances when Piquet referred to Hamilton as a ‘neguinho’.

Piquet later apologised to Hamilton, claiming he never intended to offend the Mercedes driver. He defended himself by saying that the word can be used to refer to people in general although in the videos, he was singling out Hamilton as the ‘little black guy’ while adding a homophobic slur.

“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend,” Piquet said.

“I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour.”

Despite his apology, four human rights groups including Brazil’s LGBT+ Alliance took Piquet to court and sued him for moral damages. After hearing the case, a Brazilian court ordered Piquet to pay for damages.

Image: XPB/Press Association Images

“The Substitute Judge of the 20th Civil Court of Brasilia sentenced former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet Souto Maior to pay R$ 5 million in compensation for collective moral damages, to be allocated to funds for the promotion of racial equality and discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community, due to the offences made against current Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton,” the court statement said via CNN.

Hamilton isn’t the only victim of Piquet’s homophobic remarks. The 71-year-old has angered F1 fans in his native Brazil for his continued criticism of the late F1 world champion Ayrton Senna. Piquet has repeatedly accused Senna of being homosexual even without proof. He has made homophobic remarks against Senna as recently as 2020.

Piquet also earned the ire of F1 fans for his strong support of far-right former Brazilian President Jair Bolonsaro. He donated an estimated $950,000 USD (~$1.44 million AUD ) to Bolonsaro’s failed re-election bid.